Part IV: Faster, Blutbad! Kill! Kill!
Nick dialed Hank's number again, frowning when he got yet another out of service message. He flipped his phone closed and briefly stood to put it on the countertop. "The snowstorm must be interfering with the signal."
"Is there a land line?" Monroe asked.
"I think I saw a phone in the bedroom when I went to get the pillows and blanket. I'll go give it a try," Nick said.
Of course, at that moment, the power went out.
"Really?!" Monroe exclaimed in the darkness.
"I don't know what you're complaining about," Nick shifted so that he was kneeling with one thigh pressed against Monroe's leg. "You can see much better in the dark than I can."
Nick heard the shifting of bones that accompanied a woge, and then two red dots burned in the dark. Monroe's eyes. "You have got to stop tempting the universe, man," Monroe said in his deep wolf voice, making Nick shiver. "It just loves messing with us."
"You're the one who asked about the phone – " Nick started.
A clawed hand was placed over his lips. Nick stilled, straining every sense to try to pick up whatever it was that had put Monroe on alert.
"Movement outside," Monroe rumbled against Nick's ear. Nick curled his hand around his gun, sliding the safety off. He wished he'd thought to ask if a White Witch was more dangerous in a combat situation than a usual hexenbiest.
There was a creak in the direction of the door, and Monroe stood and crowded Nick back against the counters, putting his body between Nick and the threat.
"Monroe," Nick hissed between clenched teeth. "You're in my line of fire."
"I'm protecting you!" was the guttural reply.
"I'm supposed to be protecting you!" Nick returned in frustration, visions of Monroe beaten - white faced, lying curled on the ground - dancing before his eyes.
"I'm the Grimm!"
"You are both adorable," interrupted a rich female voice with a heavy Russian accent. "Tak milo!"
Nick tried to shove his way around Monroe, but for all his Grimm enhanced strength, he might as well have been trying to move a brick wall. He was reduced to peering over Monroe's shoulder at the door, trying to see through the darkness.
A beautiful blonde woman entered the cabin, striding through the snow as if it was thin air. She was dressed fashionably in white and cream. Silver bracelets hung at her wrists, jingling like sleigh bells. There was something about the line of her mouth that was vaguely familiar, but Nick couldn't place it.
Nick leveled his gun at her over Monroe's shoulder, hoping she didn't know enough about firearms to know he'd never fire so close to Monroe's ear. Not unless he wanted to risk deafening his lebenspartner.
He refused to be taken in by the hexenbiest's beauty. All hexenbiester were prettier than they had a right to be. It was part of what made them so dangerous to the unwary. "Put your hands on your head and get down on the ground, and you won't be harmed."
The hexenbiest raised her brows, her lips twitching in amusement. She addressed Monroe. "Is he serious?"
"Unfortunately," Monroe growled in a tone that Nick hadn't heard since Angelina's death. "If I had my way, we'd just cut off your head."
The hexenbiest took a step forward, and Nick shouted another warning to her, his mind working frantically to come up with a way to get some of his blood – Grimm blood – into her system. It was the only way to strip a hexenbiest of their powers.
Maybe he could smear some on the tips of Monroe's claws? But how to communicate that idea to Monroe without letting on to the hexenbiest?
They really needed to start developing some standard plans of action for dealing with different kinds of wesen and assigning code words or hand signals or something.
"We both know that you aren't going to shoot," the hexenbiest told him, reaching into a little clutch purse she was holding under one arm. Nick wished she wasn't right, and hoped Monroe would be fast enough to move them both if the woman was drawing a weapon.
It was a little sachet of some kind of powdery candy. "Would you like some Turkish Delight?" The hexenbiest asked.
"Don't eat it, Nick!"
"I know, Monroe!" Nick snapped, voice tight. Geez, he wasn't that stupid. He remembered the story of Edmund meeting the original White Witch, and he knew better than to take anything from a hexenbiest. It was liable to put him in a coma and make him forget all about his significant other. You know. Just as a random example.
"Sometimes I wonder," Monroe muttered, as if he'd heard Nick's thoughts.
Nick ignored him. "Where are the men you've kidnapped? Are they still alive?"
"Da, they live," the hexenbiest answered. "I am only playing. I will put my toys back when I am finished, none the wiser for where they have been."
"What are you doing to them?" Nick demanded.
"Nick," Monroe snarled. "She wants you."
"She wants you, I can smell it." Monroe sounded positively bloodthirsty. "She reeks of sex."
"Oh. Then the other men?"
And then Nick got it. She was trapping these men – with snow, probably, the same way she had trapped Nick and Monroe. And then…
It didn't matter. As far as Nick was concerned, she was under arrest for any charges he could make stick.
"You have realized what game it is I am playing, lyubovnichek, I can see it in your face. I promise you, you'll like it."
"Don't call him that!" Monroe roared, the words mangled as his lips stretched into a wolf's snout. Apparently he spoke enough Russian to know whatever it was the hexenbiest was saying, and he was very, very close to losing control. Nick wrapped his left arm around Monroe's waist, keeping his gun trained on the hexenbiest with his right.
"Monroe. It's ok. You need to calm down," he said in his best alpha wolf voice. He wished he could reinforce the command with a nip at Monroe's neck. That was something the blutbad instincts would respond to. But even on his toes, Nick couldn't reach, not unless he took his eyes off of the hexenbiest.
And that he wouldn't do.
"Do not worry, malen'kiy volk," the hexenbiest purred to Monroe. Somehow, and he didn't know how, maybe it was some kind of Grimm sense, Nick was sure she was trying to provoke the blutbad, but couldn't understand why. "I will let you watch. And if you are a very good pyosik, I will even share him with you."
"Monroe," Nick started, tightening his grip around Monroe's waist, but it was too late. Too fast for his eyes to follow, Monroe threw him off, sending him sliding to the scant cover offered by the kitchen island, and then the blutbad leapt for the White Witch's throat. His foot hit the crossbow that Monroe had left on the floor, knocking it out of reach.
Even as he was scrambling to his feet, Nick expected to hear a wet tear, expected to be sprayed with arterial blood as Monroe wrenched the biest's head from her shoulders. And then he expected to try to find some way to explain this to Hank, and some way to keep Monroe from having a nervous breakdown.
But when Nick got to his feet, none of that had happened. Instead, he whirled to see the White Witch holding Monroe by the shoulders, and standing on her toes to seal their lips in a kiss.
"Let him go!" Nick demanded, something ugly uncurling in his chest. And in that moment, he knew he would shoot her. If Monroe wasn't in the way, wasn't standing so close, he would gladly shoot her.
"Stupid volk," the Witch said against Monroe's lips. "Most blutbaden know better than to let me close enough for a kiss. Now you are mine. It has been so long since I have had volk servant."
"He's not yours," Nick told the hexenbiest, surprised at how calm, how flat his voice was. "He's mine. I won't let you take him."
"Oh, do you love him?" the hexenbiest mocked. She stroked Monroe's chest with one hand, the other going up to tangle in his hair. Monroe rumbled to her, the way he only rumbled to Nick, and Nick felt nothing at all.
He couldn't afford to. Not now, not when Monroe's freedom and life were on the line.
But later, oh later, the cold rage buried down by his toes would erupt, and he didn't know what form it would take.
"He's my lebenspartner," Nick said to the White Witch. "I don't want to shoot you, but I will if you try to take him. If you hurt him."
His gun hand was absolutely steady.
"You think he is still yours? That he was ever yours at all?" the hexenbiest scoffed. "Such a foolish Grimm you are. I promised my koldun that I wouldn't kill you, but you are annoying me and…" She smiled an evil smile. "If it is not I, but the blutbad who takes your life, then I have not broken my promise."
Before Nick could fully comprehend the horror of her words, she was pointing to him, saying, "Go, blutbad! Kill!"
And then Nick had a choice to make. It all seemed to happen in slow motion.
Monroe turned, eyes blazing red. Red like blood. Red like roses.
Nick raised his gun, knowing that with how fast Monroe could move that it was now or never, and that his best chance was a torso shot, because a graze on an arm or leg wouldn't be enough to stop a blutbad from charging.
Monroe surged forward, a feral growl erupting from jaws opened wide.
Nick put his finger on the trigger. This was what Monroe would want. He would want Nick to stop him. He wouldn't want Nick to die. Wouldn't want to have to live with Nick's death on his hands.
Nick dropped his gun.
He went down hard, nearly two hundred pounds of blutbad on top of him. His head cracked against the floor with a thud that echoed in his skull. Then all he could feel was the stinging kiss of fangs in his throat, and the darkness of oblivion.
Nick woke up because someone wouldn't stop talking, and the dog was whining about going outside – needy, high pitched sounds that made him grit his teeth.
"God, you idiot! A blutbad is charging you, and you drop the damn gun! You really have no sense of self-preservation at all! You, you," the rant was interrupted by the dog whining again, "you complete, moronic, walking Darwin Award! You should have shot me. I can heal. I'd have healed. Or not, I don't care, anything is better than…" more dog whines, "And you're just lying here, and we're still snowed in, and I can't get any help, and Nick if you don't wake up I don't know what I'm going to do…"
An especially loud whine.
Nick groaned. "Someone take the damn dog out already."
Nick was gathered into familiar arms. He nuzzled his face into Monroe's chest, inhaling his scent, and then prepared himself to open his eyes.
He was lying across Monroe's lap, in their mountain of pillows. The orange light flickering over Monroe's face and the heat at Nick's back told him that at some point Monroe had built up the fire again.
There was dried blood on Monroe's chin.
Nick put a hand to his neck, and found a few scabs. So Monroe really had bitten him, had sunk his fangs into Nick's throat. But he hadn't torn. Hadn't even bitten that hard.
It was a mating mark, like the one Nick had given Monroe.
"The wolf knows its mate," Monroe said, his eyes a soft chocolate brown, shining with… was that wonder? "I know my lebenspartner. I can't be made to hurt you. I won't ever hurt you."
He stroked Nick's cheek, and as cheesy as it might sound, in that moment Nick felt precious.
"Hexenbiest?" Nick asked, putting his hand over Monroe's. He was having a little trouble focusing. He might have a concussion.
"Gone. Minus a finger or two."
Somehow Monroe managed to sound both proud and ashamed of that statement. "As soon as I tasted your blood, her hold over me broke. But she escaped through the snow drift before I could do more than…" He trailed off, and Nick filled in the rest.
"It's ok," he told Monroe, trying to lever himself into a sitting position. Lying down, it was too easy to succumb to sleep, and he needed to stay awake. "I doubt we'll see her again. My blood was on your teeth when you bit her. If she doesn't want to lose her powers, she'll have to cut off her own hand before my blood reaches her heart. We should be able to get all of the men out, once the snow melts, and I'll have Hank check the nearby hospitals for any one handed women."
Monroe fussed, helping Nick sit up and arranging pillows, every few moments touching Nick, caressing him, like a treasure that had nearly been lost.
Nick snorted to himself. He really must be loopy, to be thinking like one of the romance novels that Juliette used to leave lying around. (He only read them because he was curious. Really.)
"Nick… I would have killed her. For what she did. Just for what she wanted to do, I would have killed her. If she had been any slower, you'd have woken up in a bloodbath."
Monroe's voice was thick, with fear or tears, Nick couldn't tell. Maybe it was both.
"Monroe," Nick stroked the bigger man's cheek, refusing to flinch away at the dried blood stuck in his beard. "If it had been your life or hers, I'd have killed her too."
Monroe gasped, his eyes briefly flickering red. "You don't understand."
"I do," Nick insisted before Monroe could work himself into a self-loathing rant. "I've been talking to Shirley, remember? I know. I understand."
Among the blutbaden, those who could not hunt for themselves, who could not avenge themselves, were looked down upon. Hunting for another, killing for another… it was the ultimate expression of love within a pack.
"I would kill for you, Monroe."
Monroe kissed him, and his lips tasted like blood and salt, but Nick didn't care. All that mattered was that they were both alive.
"You are the weirdest Grimm ever. Like a dog that thinks it's a cat."
"But you love me." Nick smiled.
"Yeah," Monroe said, his voice flowing over Nick like a light summer rain. "I really, really do."
They kissed again.
"How are we going to get out of here? The snow is still blocking the door and all the windows."
Nick shrugged. "After a while, Hank will wonder why we haven't checked in. He'll dig us out."
Another kiss, and was it weird that Nick was starting not to mind the copper tang?
"What should we do until then?"
Nick knew what he'd like to be doing, but with his concussion he wasn't sure if it was the best idea. So he thumped Monroe in the chest and grinned. "Hot chocolate?"
Jade: Is a character I made up. She is named in honor of Jadis, the original White Witch. I got the idea for her to have control over blutbaden because in the original Narnia series, the White Witch's Secret Police were talking wolves. Her bracelets sounding like sleigh bells and her offer of Turkish Delight are also references to Narnia.
Oregon: I didn't bother to look up Oregon's policies on same sex adoption, or the geography of Portland, or Portland's jurisdictional map, so what's depicted in the story may be inaccurate.
Detective Jane over in Burglary: Is a *wink wink nudge nudge* reference to Rizzoli & Isles.
Russian Translations: Special thanks again to dorothydeath!
Chapter titles: All of the chapter titles are pop culture references.
Thank you to everyone for reading, and the wonderful response to the story! :D